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New Lighting Setup

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Deluxe247 View Drop Down
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    Posted: April 03 2016 at 7:59pm
I'm going to use this to document my tank progress with the new lighting setup over my 90G tank.

For several years I have been running a combination of T12 VHO's and Panorama LED strips, preceded by MH's and VHO's. I've been wanting to switch over to all LED for some time because I hate keeping track of when bulbs need replacing. Not to mention it's next to impossible to get 48" T12's anymore. The problem has always been the initial cost of purchasing a good quality LED system. A few years back I tried setting up a nice DIY rig from RapidLED, but sadly my soldering skills (if you can call them skills) left me with nothing to show for the money.

After doing some research on several "Black Box" options, I ended up purchasing 2 SB ReefLights 16" Elite ramping units. From what I have read, they appear to use better components than the Ebay brands. Also, it appears they have undergone more rigorous R&D to fine tune the diode layouts to target specific PAR wavelengths. The website claimsthese lights will rival even the high-end brands like AI, Radion and MaxSpect, for a fraction of the price. Since I am a firm proponent of independent research and market-driven innovation, I feel good about supporting their endeavor. From what I can tell, these lights are as robust and feature-rich as the expensive brands, although some features may require a little more technical acumen to unlock (e.g. Apex controller interfacing).

This is the original setup with three VHO's and 4 Panorama modules.




I just removed the old equipment from the rack and installed the Sbox units.




They come with hanging hardware, which I switched out for small bolts to mount onto the rack. This is very easy to do since the units are designed to be entirely disassembled to replace parts.




The units I bought have an integrated 3-channel ramping timer, which I have programmed for gradual increase/decrease with set points at every 20 minutes. The timers can be set to even a 10-minute resolution, but I think 20 was perfectly adequate. I'm still in the process of dialing in the exact 3-channel ratio.




This is the tank after 1 week of running the new lights. I'll add progress photos periodically.




At some point I'll stop being lazy and take some photos with my real camera instead of my phone.
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scfurse77 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote scfurse77 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 03 2016 at 9:10pm
Looks awesome! 
CADLIGHTS 42 Versa, 20 Gallon Sump, ATI Dimmable 8 Bulb T5 w/SbReef Lights Sbar, Bubble Muggus Skimmer and really mad wife :)
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Mark Peterson View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mark Peterson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 03 2016 at 10:35pm

Nice. The decent coloration of the pic tells me that they indeed did use some LED's with good PAR.

What % intensity are they running at mid-day?

Do you like the color as compared to the old setup?

Aloha,

Mark  Hug

P.S.

I have three new 72" VHO's (Super Actinic and Actinic White) I'm hanging onto for some reason. Smile


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Deluxe247 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 04 2016 at 1:19pm
Mark - it's amazing how much "stuff" I have accumulated over time and can't let go of (old lights, ballasts, pumps, even driftwood from my freshwater days). I really should sell it (or even give away some of it)...

To answer your questions, while acclimating the corals to the higher intensity, I run the whites at 80% and the blues at 90% at mid-day. that only lasts for about 2 hours, but the ramp-up/down takes roughly 6 hours on either side. I'd say the intensity makes a nice bell curve, which allows me to have some light much earlier and later than before.

As far as color goes, I like it, but I'm still dialing in the ideal rendition. IF I can't get the exact perfect blend, I may consider supplementing with either some other LEDs or possibly a couple of T5 tubes - we'll see. Right now at mid-day it's very bright and shimmering, but almost a little too white. My goal is to get colors to pop without it looking like there are missing sections of the spectrum.
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Mark Peterson View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mark Peterson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 04 2016 at 2:59pm

Yep, me too. I ended up throwing out a lot of what I had been collecting when I was running my coral farm.

Ok, so if you've been following recent threads here about light intensity(LED, sunlight and MH), we seem to have come to the conclusion that LED intensity, or even light intensity in general, is way brighter than our eyes can register. FYI, LED intensity doesn't register correctly on traditional PAR meters because of it's narrow bandwidth. 

I don't know how long the LED's have been running on this tank, but I have a lot of experience with causing sunburn to coral, unfortunately.Embarrassed  

I would recommend the intensity be cut back closer to 50% at mid-day. Intensity can always be increased but it only takes a few days of too much light to cause irreparable damage to coral flesh. Fatal sunburn is hell. I lost thousands of dollars of coral because of it, three times. Cry I believe I noted this in my thread, MarksReef Coral Farm, if you want to read about my experience. 

Hope this helps.

Aloha,

Mark  Hug



Edited by Mark Peterson - April 04 2016 at 3:01pm
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